Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Saqib Saleem, Pankaj Tripathi
Director: Kabir Khan
Who doesn’t like an underdog winning unless he is winning against you! Well, the west Indies must be feeling like this in the finals of the 1983 Cricket World Cup.
38 years ago, India wasn’t even a patch on its current team. They were a bunch of talented players who wouldn’t have even seen Rs 25,000 at one place. There was a player whose fiancée would cancel the engagement as he lived in a small house, or a team manager who had to cancel tickets because the team played beyond the league stage.
Kabir Khan has a remarkable documentary-like style in ’83 as he keeps serving us real photographs and weaves a narrative around them. There is a story behind team manager Man Singh (Pankaj Tripathi in a sublime form) lurking behind Kirti Azad in a field photo. Similarly, a journalist goes back to his predictions and eats his words, literally.
These are not just snippets out of a young captain’s mind-numbing win against all odds, but a documentation of coming together of a winning team out of absolutely nothing.
If you have seen the excellent documentary titled ‘Fire In Babylon’, you would know how much tough can it be to stand up against the people who want to see you ‘grovel.’ The West Indies had done it in 1975 and now India had to do this against them. Not an easy task against a well-oiled machine led by Clive Lloyd, and then there was the swashbuckling Vivian Richards, one of the greatest if not the greatest.
Apart from a few crowd scenes where certain supporters mock others, it is a very respectful treatment of the opponents. The theme music for Richards is a killer one that hits all the right notes.
The focus is cricket in all its glory where you play to enjoy, not to impress, but to earn respect.
The theme might look like an easy one to you that a game unites people, but trust me; it’s not an easy task to translate it on screen while maintaining the adrenaline rush.
Our Independence was only 36-year-old and only something of this magnitude could have given the country hope for a better future which at that time was marred by the license raj and systematic failures.
Ganguly and Dhoni took the Indian cricket to unprecedented heights, but Kapil Dev’s team was the one who made us believe in us. A team where a Tamil opener learnt to adapt, a milk-drinking Haryana boy fostered patience and a Punjabi played for the pride of his legendary father. It was much more than just a tournament. It was a chance for the South Asians in Britain to come to their own in a hostile country. Kapil Dev (a very dependable Ranveer Singh) fought for all of them, with a calm head and strong shoulders. It was a first and team India might not have gotten another chance anytime soon. But as they, the rest is history.
Deepika Padukone, playing Romi Dev, has been given too much attention till it starts feeling like a Sandhu deviation. Way too many close ups also takes attention away like a Srikanth missed hook. In short, treating a star like a star isn’t always a good idea. However, in the interest of the nation, pun intended, and in the memory of a great victory, I choose to ignore these small distractions.
Ranveer Singh hasn’t overdone it and that has served ’83 really well. Saqib Saleem, Jiiva, jatin Sarna and Tripathi have amply supported him.
Julius Packiam’s heart-pumping background score and Aseem Mishra’s 360 degree camera have added finesse to the project.
It’s definitely a win for Kabir Khan, a film of grand scale and even grander presentation. A really, really enjoyable sports film.